Prosecutors Work To Keep Lid on $57M Corruption Case
Paul Berger, Forward, April 11, 2013
Federal prosecutors are trying to prevent a jury from hearing evidence that an alleged $57m fraud at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which processes Holocaust claims, is larger than thought. The prosecutors request that defense attorneys be barred from “eliciting testimony or introducing evidence at trial concerning purported improprieties in the Claims Conference’s administration of other compensation programs, including Germany’s Slave Labor Program and the Fund for Victims of Medical Experiments and Other Injuries.” The prosecutors are also trying to prevent defense lawyers from arguing that the German government was negligent and therefore partially to blame for the fraud. Twenty-eight people, including nine former Claims Conference employees, have already pleaded guilty to fraud, and some of them to witness tampering. Nine of those people have been sentenced, some to more than one year in jail, and ordered to pay fines and restitution totaling millions of dollars. Since the fraud was first uncovered in 2010, the FBI have identified over 5,000 fraudulent claims made against of the Hardship Fund, which makes a one-off payment of about $3,500 to people who were forced to evacuate during WW2, and the Article 2 Fund, which pays a monthly pension of $400 to needy survivors who lived in hiding or under a false identity for at least 18 months during the war. The three accused are alleged to have been part of a wide-ranging scheme in which thousands of people from the FSU submitted applications and documents that were later altered or supported by forged papers in support of fraudulent claims.
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